I love neofolk and I love black metal, but I absolutely despise how both have become breeding grounds for hateful ideologies.
Those are the words of Richard Weeks, the man behind the confrontational underground force that is Gaylord. Unafraid, unapologetic Weeks has been taking the fight to the fascist infiltrators of underground music since 2015, firstly with Sea Wolves Of The Atlantic, then Olivia Neutered John and since 2018 with Gaylord. Gaylord’s debut album, The Black Metal Scene Needs To Be Destroyed, was a viral hit on Bandcamp but as Weeks freely admits the message and biting humour came first, with the actual music something of an afterthought.
The first album was definitely lacking in the instrumentation department, he laughs. I wrote all eight songs in four sessions. I wanted it to sound like old school Burzum, this raw and ugly sound that sounded ‘legitimate’ – but I almost succeeded too closely to that idea because it sounds like shit!
With new album, Wings Of The Joyful, things have changed dramatically. The music now possesses a formidable, convincing power that stands tall in its own right. Out on March 20th 2020 via Blackened Death Records.
Heavy metal is for everyone regardless of social caste, skin colour, religious affiliation, or gender. Heavy metal is about feeling strong. Heavy metal is not about disparaging those different from yourself. We are in this together, those who would divide this scene can fuck off!
With Gaylord, there’s certainly a goal to take cursory onlookers by surprise. Simply by seeing the band name will be enough to set Twitter feeds alight. Forget looking any deeper, it’s clearly designed to offend and that’s that. However, scratch the surface and it becomes clearer that Gaylord only wishes to offend those with hate and malice in their hearts.
Sure, he probably could have approached that a bit more tactfully but it certainly wouldn’t have been as attention grabbing. Hell, when has black metal ever been about tact anyway?!
Turning the focus onto what it should be about…the music, Gaylord certainly possesses the black metal chops to confuse the hell out of the most ‘trve’ fan out there. On the one hand it’s aggravating and aggressive, with a genuine ‘in your face’ attitude backed up by quality heavy music. On the other, it’s not taking itself so seriously as to detract from the goal.
It might not be as tongue in cheek as previous releases but there is a sense that Gaylord doesn’t quite take the musical style as seriously as the ‘trve’ would expect. That will certainly put many a person off but they’d be missing out on a album filled with a myriad of ideas distilled into an interesting concoction.
Musically it isn’t as challenging as it perhaps implies it could be, at times very straightforward in its black metal approach but that doesn’t stop it being a thoroughly enjoyable listen though.
Gaylord – Wings Of The Joyful Full Track Listing:
1. Red Wing, Dead Wing
2. The First to Die
3. Devils from the Black
5. Borne from Inferno Winds
6. Godless Universe
7. Thorns From Below
Gaylord - Wings Of The Joyful (Blackened Death Records)
The Final Score - 6.5/10